Bitten, Not Smitten, with Scream Factory's BITE

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Bite horror movie review Dennis Russo

BITE, written and directed by Chad Archibald from Scream Factory Films, and opening in select theaters and VOD on May 6, is a “body-horror” film that wants to play on the fear that one, if not all of us, have had at some point in our lives growing up: What if we were bitten by something and we started to change into that thing?

Sound familiar? Well, yeah, this modus operandi is somewhat of a staple among the horror genre, but the movie has enough going for it--mainly on the back of its star, Elma Begovic--to keep you interested to the end.

Begovic stars as Casey a young woman engaged to be married who, while on vacation with her girlfriends Jill (Annette Wozniak) and Kirsten (Denise Yuen), is bitten by an unknown insect. She pays little attention to the bite, as she is having second thoughts about her upcoming marriage to Jared (Jordan Gray), and is back in the states before she realizes that the bite was not as harmless as she thought. Now she’s having to deal cold feet about her marriage and that her body is slowly starting to change--and she can’t bring herself to tell either to her fiancé.

While this movie isn’t the same as, it does bear comparison to THE FLY (the Jeff Goldblum version) from the aspect of the physical transformation into the insect. It starts off as a first person video shoot (Think CLOVERFIELD or THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT) but that is only for a short time--basically up to the point of the bite. I did like way that was filmed culminating with Casey just looking at the camera and saying, “It’s just a bite.” Then the movie changes to a traditionally shot film, although the footage does come into play later on in the movie as her friend filmed their exploits.

Special effects-wise, there is no comparison as you would expect from a small budget compared to a big Hollywood production. In fact, I would say that after watching 10 seasons of FACE OFF on the SYFY channel, I could pretty much see how the make-up effects were applied and where they failed--the elongated finger tip on Casey as she was transforming, or the head piece covering her hair. It was Begovic’s fine acting that made the rather average make up seem less bothersome.

I was also bothered by her eggs--not so much by what they looked like (don’t know if I’ll ever look at the little “fruit juice pearls” at Orange Leaf ever again) as much as the way they were laid and placed in gloppy oozy piles around her apartment. Casey laid her eggs out of her mouth, sort of letting them flow out, and with the amount you see you’d expect to see her running all over the place spewing them out like lava from Vesuvius. There are some oozing down the wall or off a table as if they were just put there, but Casey was in a different area of the apartment. It’s a small disconnect, but there nonetheless. Sometimes less is actually more, and this would have been a good case for it here.

The other actors in the movie were good, but limited by their script and premise. (One of Casey’s friends was setting her up to steal her fiancé away her by filming her hooking up with a young Islander while on vacation, so you get the customary creature-gets-even scenario.)

I liked how Casey was basically isolated in her apartment, distancing herself from her fiancé, friends, and everyone else as she was going through her emotions and transformation alone. Again, what carried these scenes was the acting prowess of Begovic, which I can’t say enough about; what she brings to the table in this movie is what makes this movie palpable.

While this movie has won several awards, for me it was just okay. Now, if it won the awards based on Begovic’s acting, I can see that. But no one person, no matter how good, can make a whole movie.

Overall, it’s a good watch, with some worthwhile acting and some well shot scenes; but you’ve seen lot of it before in other movies.

2.5 / 5.0